NASA DART: First images show aftermath of asteroid collision mission

As NASAs DART spacecraft slammed into an asteroid, a small satellite tv for pc known as LICIACube watched from afar now it has despatched again its first images of the collision


27 September 2022

Plumes of particles erupting out of the asteroid Dimorphos

ASI Italian Space Agency

NASA has smashed a spacecraft into an asteroid, and a small satellite tv for pc watched the entire thing occur. The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) crashed into the 160-metre-wide moonlet Dimorphos on 26 September. Now, the Light Italian CubeSat for Imaging of Asteroids (LICIACube) has despatched again images of the collision from up shut.

DARTs purpose in smashing into Dimorphos, which orbits a bigger asteroid known as Didymos, was to vary its orbit in a check of how we’d be capable of deflect an asteroid heading in direction of Earth. While the spacecraft documented its method to the asteroid, it was destroyed within the precise collision.

That is the place LICIACube is available in. DART carried the 14-kilogram satellite tv for pc in a spring-loaded field after which ejected it on 11 September so it may fly previous Dimorphos at a secure distance after the collision. This was key to each determining how the collision affected the asteroid itself and figuring out whether or not its orbit was modified.

The first images from LICIACube show big plumes of particles erupting out of Dimorphos after the collision. These photos haven’t been analysed by scientists but, however ultimately they are going to reveal details about the asteroids inside and the way a lot of it was destroyed within the smash-up.

“Now the science can start,” mentioned Katarina Miljkovic at Curtin University in Australia, in an announcement. “We needed a large-scale experiment… This is to ensure that, should Earth ever encounter a dangerous asteroid hurling towards us, we would know what to do.”

It will take a minimum of a number of days to look at and calculate how Dimorphoss orbit round Didymos has modified. That will rely largely on the asteroids inside energy and whether or not its floor crumbled on collision or stood as much as the crash. Its like hitting one thing with a baseball bat if the thing is a rock and doesn’t crumble, it should go additional than a bit of fruit that breaks up into many items. This info will assist decide how future missions to guard Earth from any doubtlessly harmful asteroids must be designed.

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